If I was a betting man, I’d take odds that the Eagles trade down in April’s draft, grab a side-of-beef lineman with their lower first-round pick and use the newly acquired second-round spot for Sam Bradford’s replacement. Make sure you get the spelling right on “Dak Prescott” before you have it stenciled on your next jersey.
I’d risk half my earnings on the Phillies winning more than the 66.5 games Vegas lists them at this season. They’ll finish fourth (above the Braves), but the young pitching will survive and reinforcements will arrive to push them toward a 71-91 record.
By the way, the best wager in baseball is Tampa Bay over 78 wins. You can fly to Vegas now and thank me in October.
I’d push all the chips to the middle of the table to support Flyers GM Ron Hextall making a huge move this off-season. The Flyers’ top forwards (Giroux, Voracek, Simmonds) are at their peaks and entering their late 20s. Meanwhile, all the promising baby defensemen seem a few years away from full potential. Something has to change for it to mesh, and I suspect Hextall realizes that.
I’d see if my local bookie would take action that either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor gets swapped this summer. One sad revelation to this horror show of a Sixers season is that the dream of dominant twin towers hasn’t worked with this pair of 6-foot-11 post players on the court together. So one will gain his reprieve. Probably Noel.
I’d bet the Eagles end the first week of free agency (which starts Wednesday) by signing a replacement for Matt Tobin – even after tendering that turnstile guard an offer last week. The buzz centers on Jared Allen of the Chiefs and, given Doug Pederson’s KC connection, that’s enough to get me to wait at the betting window.
I’d take dollars from my IRA account and put it on Steve Mason regaining that No. 1 goalie spot if the Flyers make a playoff run (which, alas I would not bet on). Michal Neuvirth has been a pleasant surprise this season after a seven-year career as a backup. But Mason’s the guy they signed to a three-year, $12.1 million deal. Despite his ups and downs, he’s the guy.
I’d put a $5 chip behind Ryan Howard finishing the season with 20-plus homers – as DH for the Orioles or another AL team. Carlos Ruiz will be the last surviving member of the 2008 champs. And that’s something I would never have bet on five years ago.